“The worst case scenario that we keep all the bad candidates because they cut a deal cannot be ruled out,” said Sylvie Goulard, a member of the centrist ALDE group on the economic committee, which grilled Hill and France’s Pierre Moscovici.
She said Juncker would do better to reshuffle his pack so that weaker nominees are moved to less sensitive jobs but added: “That is not the direction things are going in.”
A senior EU official, reflecting the institutional fears of Commission veterans, said score settling by the political groups had taken over from the examination of competence.
“It is no longer about the right candidate. It is a political game between the parties in parliament — taking hostages and exchanging them,” he said.
Juncker’s spokeswoman said he was satisfied with the performance of all the candidates in their hearings, especially Hill. A source close to the former Luxembourg prime minister said he spent the weekend working the telephones to parliament leaders and Schulz “to cool things down”.
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